“I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond.” -Mae West
Unlike Mae West, the rest of us probably eat plenty of carrots, especially raw. Raw carrots and cooked broccoli are the only vegetables that all 3 of my boys are guaranteed to eat without complaining. So I, like plenty of you, would always pick up a couple of bags of baby carrots at the grocery store.
Then I read something that surprised me… and perhaps it will surprise you too. Some of the baby carrots are actually carrots bioengineered and then picked at that small size. But if you buy the petite carrots (the ones that I think taste better) and some of the other ones, you are actually buying regular carrots that have been peeled and chopped for you. One smart farmer noticed that people wanted uniform looking carrots so a lot of “deformed” looking carrots were never bought and ultimately thrown out. He then peeled and chopped his deformed carrots and sold them. They were so popular that he actually sold them more expensive than the regular carrots. He began using a potato peeler/slicer machine and our obsession with baby carrots began.
If you are like me, you might be saying, big deal. I like the convenience of the baby carrots. Agreed! But just so you know… I’ve heard that they are dipped in Chlorine. So I researched it a little and “Urban Legends” sums up what I found through various sites:
None of this is harmful to your health, says Dr. Joe Schwarcz, professor of chemistry at McGill University. The whole point of washing vegetables with chlorinated water is to protect consumers’ health by reducing bacteria that could cause foodborne illnesses.
So even though it’s supposedly safe… perhaps we’d be better off without it. So I’ve started buying regular carrots and (get this!) actually peeling them and cutting them myself. I’ve found that it saves money (not enough that I’ll be taking a tropical vacation, but hey, every bit helps, right?), the carrots taste better (both raw and cooked), and they don’t seem to dry out as fast. Plus my kids gobble them up – I’ve found that they also like the novelty of eating a full, peeled but not sliced, carrot.
If you’re not convinced… that’s fine… if you still prefer the convenience, I get it. I will not judge you if you continue to buy baby carrots. But, I’ll just throw in some pictures to show you my sliced carrots. I took a 16 ounce bag, washed, peeled, washed again, and sliced them all in 8 minutes. I think the amount of sliced carrots I got equals 2-3 bags of baby carrots.
And here’s a picture of a bag of baby carrots from Giant. Notice that it says “Baby CUT Carrots”. This tells you that the carrots were just regular carrots peeled and cut down. And then even though they are organic, they were probably washed in the chlorine wash.